Ivan the Intern writes in:
The other day, I had to drop off some packages at Fedex to be shipped. As I was leaving, an accountant asked if I could also drop off some checks while I was out–gave me the address and what not. Thinking that she knew I was heading to Fedex, I figured I needed to mail the checks as well. It’s been a week living in LA and I’m not used to the area so I shipped the packages and the checks.
The next morning, I get a call asking if I dropped off the checks because the company said they never received them. I said I mailed them out thinking that’s what she wanted me to do since I was headed to Fedex anyways. She told me I needed to drop them off to the actual location, but that she’ll call the company and explain the situation. Simple misunderstanding right, or am I at fault for not asking for clear instructions?
I think this will slide for two reasons: first, you’re an intern, and people expect mistakes; second, the check will get to the vendor. If either or both of those weren’t true, you’d be looking at a fire-able offense.
If the person (whether it’s an accountant or a director or one of the camera assistants) hands you something to deliver, but doesn’t expressly state either “mail” or “hand deliver,” always, always ask.
Another thing is, accounting is meticulous. They would almost certainly have stamped the letters themselves, or filled out the FedEx form. When someone writes the address on a post-it note rather than the envelope, that’s a good indication they want it hand delivered.
You never know what the situation is in accounting. It’s possible the vendor required the check that day, or they wouldn’t deliver whatever item was needed on time. Or maybe they couldn’t even start work on building a prop or something, because they didn’t have enough in their bank account for materials. Or whatever.
The point is, sometimes people need money right now. That’s why you should always clarify with accounting, “Is this urgent?” They’ll let you know whether you need to run out the door that minute, or if you have time to sit at your desk and enjoy lunch.